Modern trends in tennis
In the last 5-7 years, specialized accessories have become available for tennis players to track game progress, monitor training and measure activity levels on the court. There are now several types of smart devices on the market for players:
A racquet with built-in sensors and gauges. With these, the racket will show the ratio of the number of forehands and backhands, the degree of ball rotation, successfully executed serves, the accuracy of hitting the ball in the playing spot of the string surface, the trajectory of the player, rest time and activity.
- Racket attachments. There are several varieties of attachments. For example, a device in the form of a vibration damper or an attachment on the racket handle. These gadgets show the initial speed of the ball, the degree of rotation, the interaction time of the strings with the ball, the point of contact of the ball with the stringing surface. Both the vibration damper and the nozzle can have a slight effect on weight and balance, which is critical for some tennis players.
- Bracelets and watches. This type is most similar to a standard fitness tracker, but, in addition to burned calories, will help to count the number and type of performed strokes, the initial speed of the ball, the degree of rotation, the point of contact of the ball with the racket, the trajectory of the ball, the distance covered by the court, determine swing style (wrist rotation in the pre-and post-punch position) and the maximum speed of the racket.
- On-court or net-mounted devices that measure the velocity of the serve and ball flight.
- Sensors in shoes. They show the trajectory of movements on the court, measure the speed of movements and mark the player’s fastest accelerations.
There are many manufacturers of tennis gadgets. Among them are the traditional tennis companies Babolat, Head, Wilson; the tech giant – Sony; the general sports brand – Adidas, as well as small companies and startups: Zepp Tennis, Ball Coach Pocket Radar, Ralf Lauren Polo tech, Pivot tennis sensor, Qlipp, Shot Stats, Smash Wearables and others.
Each manufacturer offers its own app, which collects data from the device and produces understandable statistics on a smartphone or computer screen.
The cost of the devices varies. The sensors built into the Babolat Play racket increase its cost by 2 times that of a regular racket. At the same time, separately sold sensors on the racket, vibration absorbers and bracelets with sensors cost from 50 to 150 dollars.
Among the smart gadgets for tennis players are the systems of game statistics, which are installed on the court.
For example, the system Playsight – a six-camera system installed above the court. The cameras record video of practice, extracting the following statistics:
- types of strokes
- accurate serves
- ball trajectory
- ball speed
- spin rate
- kick depth
- player movement pattern
- Distance traveled on court
- Number of calories spent during training.
Playsight system is installed in many academies in the United States and in some clubs in Europe (Spain, France). At the time of writing there are no such clubs in Russia.
Tennis tournaments and camps
Opportunities for communication and competition attract people to tournaments. For example, on average there are 5-6 tournaments every weekend. That’s about 100 participants plus those who stayed home. Altogether there are 200-300 players who are ready to compete. However, not every country has a comfortable climate for playing in the whole 12 months, and because of this tournaments and training camps began to be held in warmer countries.
Another tourist project – Tennisdays – offers tennis players training camps in international tennis academies.
In the last decades, many clubs under the aegis of former tennis professionals have appeared in the world. As a rule, these are clubs in the tennis player’s homeland, where he or she has invested his or her knowledge, ideas about the best training processes and teaching methods. Many of such clubs became academies due to the fact that besides the training process they offer accommodation, education (some of them have full-fledged schools preparing juniors for the prestigious universities), a complex of services for physical and psychological preparation of sportsmen.
Prices for a year’s tuition of a tennis student start from 25,000 euros and grow in proportion to the popularity and effectiveness of the academy. The price includes lodging, full board sports nutrition, tennis and OHP training, and classes with a psychologist.
Junior and adult amateur academy outings are more affordable and shorter. They give an opportunity to plunge into the world of professional tennis, evaluate your strengths and get acquainted with international teaching methods.
Internet services for tennis players
The world globalization and informatization have changed the world. Services which save time and money and make communication between people more accessible have become accessible everywhere.
In parallel with the development of the Internet, Internet resources independent from clubs appeared to search for sparring-partners; sites to collect players for participation in mini-tournaments; as well as systems, which are designed to keep records and development of tennis clubs.
Online Tennis Partner Search Sites
The pioneers in providing this type of service were tennis clubs. A questionnaire was created on the club’s website with contact information, skill level, and playing time preferences. Anyone wishing to find a sparring partner could look them up and arrange a game. The active base worked inside the clubs as a closed community, it was possible to negotiate and play only on the basis of the club.
In modern Internet services bases are open to all comers and the search for a partner is transparent.
Services like Tennisgroups and Fitstarter offer a large selection of partners in different Russian cities. Players on these sites are divided by level of play, gender and relevance of the ad. Each has a photo and description. When you click on a player’s profile, the user is shown the preferred way of contact, and then it’s a matter of technique.
In addition to specialized sites, a partner can be found in social networks. There are already more than a dozen groups and pages that have the same function as the above services, and as a bonus you can look at the profile of your future opponent.
Internet service for organizing tournaments
Another interesting way to find tennis partners is online tournaments. Mechanics of operation of different services may differ, but in general the following: a user registers on the website, agrees to play in a tournament that lasts for several weeks. Each week it is necessary to play one game. The level of players is about equal, because the grid is chosen according to the level. Time and place of the match players choose their own, the court is paid in half, and the results are sent to the organizers and become available on the website.
They are easy to work with and get to know other players.
Online court booking sites
A relevant and in-demand service for tennis players to book courts online is just beginning to gain momentum. However, today most clubs are not ready to support a unified booking system. Owners of tennis courts first of all face the problem to maintain quality of courts and satisfy existing demand.
In large cities the demand for courts is higher than the supply. That is why it is not so important for the clubs to be represented on several sites on the Internet and to attract more visitors. In addition, the reservation and customer record keeping system in many clubs is rather primitive. Clubs use paper records, Excel spreadsheets or self-written accounting systems, which complicates the transition to a single booking service.
There are exceptions, where the number of courts per person is on average 1.5-2 times greater than in other cities. Perhaps it is from such advanced in terms of sports cities can successfully start online booking services.
Ideally, the system works as an aggregator of all courts in the city, generates an incoming stream of customers and transmits it to the courts. A tennis player goes to the site, selects a club and time, sends a reservation form, the system at the club checks the availability of time and sends a response to the user. It is worth noting that by choosing one club to visit, people often stick to the schedule and they don’t have to make frequent reservations.
Specialized accounting systems for tennis clubs
In addition to services for tennis players, services for clubs are beginning to appear.
The Fitstarter tennis club management system allows clubs to keep accurate statistics on visits and bookings, work with a database of contacts, notify clients about club news, analyze financial flows and so on.